Written By: Shahana Raza

What is personal protective equipment?

Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. These injuries and illnesses may result from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Personal protective equipment may include items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be maintained and provided by the employer. OSHA now requires employers to pay for personal protective equipment used to comply with OSHA standards. The PPE employers must provide is not specified, but the rule does identify what must be paid for. Employers cannot require workers to provide their own PPE and the worker’s use of PPE they already own must be completely voluntary. If an employee provides his/her own equipment, the employer is still responsible to make sure it is adequate and well maintained. Employers must do the following when providing PPE:  Assess the hazards of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards. Identify and provide appropriate PPE for employees.  Train employees in the use and care of the PPE. Maintaining the PPE, and including replacing worn or damaged equipment. Periodically review, update and evaluate the effectiveness of the PPE.

Items Employers must pay for;

Metatarsal foot protection.  Rubber boots with steel toes. Non-prescription eye protection Prescription eyewear inserts/lenses for full face respirators.  Goggles and face shields. Fire fighting  PPE (helmet, gloves, boots, proximity suits, full gear).  Hard hats.  Hearing protection. Welding PPEs

Items Employers are not required to pay for;

Steel-toe boots.  Prescription safety eyewear if worn off the job site.  Non uniform work clothes including long-sleeve shirts,  long pants, street shoes, and normal work boots. Weather protection clothing, including winter coats, jackets, gloves, parkas, rubber boots, hats, raincoats, ordinary sunglasses, and sunscreen. Lifting belts. Intentionally lost or damaged the PPE

Structure of the Lung

Air enters through mouth and nasal passages.  Alveoli are responsible for carrying oxygen to the blood stream. Oxygen diffuses into blood and is exchanged for carbon dioxide. Assigned Protection Factor (APF).  Expected level of employee protection. Maximum Use Concentration (MUC).  Maximum concentration from which an employee can be protected from when wearing a respirator.  Respiratory hazards may be present in the workplace in different forms Dust and Fiber Mists Fumes Vapors Gases Biological Hazards

Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection in the workplace protects employees from hazardous gases and vapors, oxygen deficiency, and airborne particles. An estimated five million workers in the United States are required to wear respirators on the job. If an employer provides their workers with respirators, they must have a site-specific written respiratory protection program.

Respiratory Protection ØConstruction and Industry Standards are identical ØEmployer must choose the right application for the job.

Dust Masks are for nuisance dusts only

Respirators are made to filter harmful contaminants from the air.

Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) is suitable for atmospheres that are both oxygen deficient and contain harmful contaminants.

Employees that have to wear respirators must receive the following:

Pulmonary Function Test. Respirator Fit Testing. Education on devices capabilities. Storage, cleaning, and regular inspection procedures. Regularly monitored work area and conditions.

Respirator Fit Testing

Quantitative: A pass/fail test to assess respirator fit.  Relies on the individual’s response to the test agent. (Recognizable scents)

Qualitative: Assesses a respirator’s effectiveness by numerically measuring the amount of leakage into the respirator.

  • Adjust straps and other connecting or fitting devices so that face seal is snug but comfortable. 2. Positive Pressure Test: Place hand over blowout diaphragm and exhale, the mask should first expand, then release around the face seal. 3. Negative Pressure Test: Place hands over the cartridges and inhale, the mask should collapse into the face. If no leaks are discovered, and wearer can sense no surrounding odors, mask is fitted properly. Facial hair that interferes with a proper seal is prohibited.
  • Common Job-Site Respiratory Exposures Ø
  •  Pressure treated wood
  •  Blown cellulose insulation
  • Pesticides
  •  Sheetrock
  •  Masonry silica exposures
  •  Block and Brick and Sand

Foot Protection

Metatarsal guards protect the instep area from impact and compression. Made of aluminum, steel, fiber or plastic, these guards may be strapped to the outside of regular work shoes. Toe guards fit over the toes of regular shoes to protect the toes from impact and compression hazard.  Safety footwear must comply with ANSI Z41.1. Required for: Any material handling process where something could be dropped on the foot. Bulk material handling processes. Work around sharp objects that could penetrate and puncture foot.

Head Protection

Head injuries may be caused by falling or flying objects, or by bumping the head against a fixed object.

All hard hats must comply with ANSI standard Z89.1, and Z89.2 for employees exposed to high voltage electric shock.  Bump Caps are not acceptable for construction use under these standards. Employees must wear hard hats if there is any possibility of; being struck by an object falling from a higher level. A flying object. Electrical shock.

Engineering and Administrative controls should be applied when feasible.  Ear plugs must be fitted under the direction of a competent person.  If you are arms length from the person talking to you and cannot hear them, it’s time for hearing protection.

Permissible Noise Exposures

Duration/Day, Hours


Sound Level dBA
8 90
6 92
4 95
3 97
2 100
1.5 102
1 105
1/2 110
¼ or less 115


Are my employees overexposed? ► Use this Formula; D=100(C/T) ► D = Percentage Dose. 100 = Constant. C = Hours of Exposure. T = Allowable Hours per day at specified dbA). If Percentage Dose exceeds 100, too much exposure

Components of a Hearing Conservation Program

  • Monitoring
  • Hearing Protection
  •  Audiometric Testing
  • Training
  • Record Keeping

Muffs vs. Plugs:

Product will have a Noise Reduction Rating or NRR % Rating indicates the performance of the device

How to insert an Ear Plug:

Grab the top/back of the ear.

Gently pull up and backward.(If disposable foam) Roll the plug between the forefingers and thumb until it is completely compressed.

Gently slide the plug in the ear canal.(If disposable foam) Let the plug expand.

Eye & Face Protection:

All eye and face equipment must comply with ANSI Z87.1 standards.

Employers must provide protection when employees are exposed to any and all potential flying debris.

ANSI compliant side shields applied to conventional glasses do not make them safety glasses!

The standard covers general eye protection, eye protection for welding, and laser applications

Hand Protection:

Must be durable and resist the conditions of use. Glove should not restrict dexterity required for task.  Employee must be educated on capabilities of equipment

Conditions for Glove Use:

Burns ►Bruises ►Abrasions ►Cuts ►Punctures ►Fractures ►Amputations ►Chemical Exposures

Glove Types:

►Metal mesh, leather, or canvas.  Protects from cuts, burns, heat. Fabric and coated fabric gloves § Protects from dirt and abrasion ►Chemical and liquid resistant gloves § Protects from burns, irritation, and dermatitis ►Rubber gloves § Protects from cuts, lacerations, and abrasions.

Safety Harnesses:

Body belt use has been outlawed.  Harness should be properly adjusted to fit the employee.  Never use positioning devices as primary means of tie-off.  Always have a plan for retrieving a “hanging” worker.


Choose the right lanyard for the task at hand. Static w/ shock absorber. Retractable. Nylon Rope or Steel Cable. Double legged for 100% tie-off transitions.  Must be equipped with double action snap hooks.  May not be tied off on to itself unless designed for such use

Personal Protective Equipment Policy:

  1. Head and Scalp (Hard Hat with Chin Strap) – shall be in accordance with ANSI Z89 and EN 397 Employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns, shall be protected by protective helmets. Hardhats are to be worn in all construction areas unless otherwise communicated or posted. Only class ‘G’ or class ‘E’ is allowed. class ‘C’ or substandard hardhats are not allowed on NCC T&D sites. Before each use, hardhats must be inspected for cracks, signs of impact or rough treatment and wear that might reduce the degree of safety originally provided. If signs of excess wear exist, it must be discarded. Hardhat suspensions must never be altered. Hardhats are to be worn with the bill to the front (not backwards). If face protection (face shields) are required to be worn in addition to head protection, face shields must be provided that can be worn with the worker’s hardhat. Objects will not be placed or stored between the hardhat shell and suspension. Baseball type hats with the button on top will not be worn under hard hat.
  2. Eye and Face (Goggles and Shields) – shall be in accordance with ANSI Z87 and EN166 Prior to work in any area with potential exposure to hazardous materials/chemicals, the nearest eyewash will be identified and communicated to all. All employees must wear approved eye protection at all times on NCC T&D sites unless otherwise communicated or posted. Special eye hazard work areas (such as welding, torch work, etc.) will be identified in pretask plans and appropriate eye protection provided. Goggles will be worn if the potential for fine particles or chemical hazards exists. Goggles will also be worn for overhead protection from particles/dust. Tinted / dark eye protection is not allowed inside facilities/structures unless specifically required and approved by NCC T&D project management. Visitors to the site that do not have approved eyewear must be provided approved goggles or glasses. ANSI / EN approved eye wear will be worn over prescription glasses for access to site work areas until permanent protective eyewear can be obtained. Face shields must be worn when grinding and handling acids or molten materials. Welding Goggles – ANSI Z87 / EN 1542 Welding Masks – ANSI Z49 / EN 175 / EN 169
  3. Body (Work Clothing) where chemical hazards (corrosives, etc.) are present, appropriate protection will be provided. The protection provided must be chosen to be resistant to the hazards and chemical properties as presented by the work. Reusable clothing must be decontaminated prior to storage. When welding, the neck and face will be suitably protected from arc burns. For all construction sites, workers must be required to wear company provided uniforms. Project management will approve exceptions. 4. Hand (Gloves) – shall be in accordance with EN 388 and ANSI 105 Protective gloves may be worn for hand protection when hands are exposed to hazards described by this procedure. Persons in doubt must be contacted to review glove selection for work they are going to perform. Different exposures require the use of different types of gloves. Evaluate each situation to ensure which is the appropriate type of hand protection to use. 5. Feet and Toes (Safety Shoes/boots) – shall be in accordance with ANSI Z41 or BSEN 345 All personnel must wear steel toe shoes/boots unless otherwise documented and/or posted. All personnel conducting tamping and air hammering processes will wear metatarsal and safety-toed guards. 6. Hearing Protection (Ear Plugs/Ear Muffs) T&D operational team must ensure that any worker exposed to 85 dBA (eight-hour TWA) shall be provided with an appropriate PPE in accordance with Group / Client / NIOSH safety standards. 7. Respiratory Protection A respirator shall be provided to each employee by their line management when such equipment is necessary to protect the health of such employee. The line management shall provide the respirators which are applicable and suitable for the purpose intended. The line management shall be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a respiratory protection program. Line management is responsible for design and implementation of a Respiratory Protection program when its employees will be using respirators. Elements of the program should include; risk/hazard analysis, selection of appropriate respirators, medical evaluation of respirator wearers, training, and fit testing. Training records shall be made available at site. Line management is responsible for determining when and where respiratory protection is required to address hazards that are generated as a result of activity on either new construction or sustaining projects. If Respiratory Protection is required as a result of hazards presented by NCC T&D Operations the Contractor will work with NCC Health & Safety Staff to identify the appropriate respiratory protective equipment. All respiratory protection equipment used on NCC T&D sites shall be NIOSH approved. Respirators shall not be shared. Each employee requiring protection shall be issued equipment unless there has a formal cleaning/disinfecting program in place. Anyone wearing a respirator shall be clean-shaven to ensure a secure face/respirator seal.

Shahana Raza

(M.Phil OHS ) (Punjab University Lahore )

E-mail: shahanaraza361@gmail.com